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Galamsey: 3 Chinese illegal miners, 2 Ghanaians arrested in Eastern Region

Three(3) Chinese illegal miners including a female and two(2) Ghanaians have been arrested in Atiwa West Municipality in the Eastern region.

The illegal miners were arrested during the weekend whilst mining with excavators destroying the vegetation and polluting the Birim river.

Their mining equipment were confiscated.

The accused have been arraigned before Koforidua Circuit Court and remanded.

Eastern Region is one of the mining regions in Ghana Chinese sneaking to engage in illegal mining.

Dozens of these Chinese illegal miners have been arrested in the last five years but only three have been imprisoned

As part of the fight against the menace, Chief Justice designated the Koforidua High Court 3 and Circuit Court B, to deal with illegal mining cases in the region.

Recent statistics by the Eastern Regional Office of the Attorney General Department headed by Chief State Attorney Mrs. Emily Addo-Okyireh detailed that, a total of 187 illegal miners charged in 48 cases have been convicted and sentenced to various terms of imprisonment in the Region since 2017.

The 187 convicted persons include 29 nationals of Niger, seven Nigerians and three Chinese.

A majority of the accused persons were tried and sentenced under the old section 99 of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703). Section 99(1) of Act 703 prescribed a penalty of a minimum fine of three thousand penalty units or imprisonment for a term of not more than five years for the offence of buying or selling minerals without a licence.

For the offence of undertaking a small-scale mining operation without a licence or acting in contravention of a provision of Act 703 in respect of which an offence is created, section 99(2) of Act 703 stipulated a penalty of a minimum fine of one thousand penalty units or to imprisonment for a term not more than three years.

In spite of the provision not being punitive enough, the Office of the Attorney-General says it succeeded in ensuring the application of maximum or near maximum custodial sentences allowed under imposed on the accused persons in 40 of the cases with the court exercising the discretion to impose a fine the rest of the cases.

Source: Ghana/ Ansah

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